If the future of motoring really is autonomous, pedestrians are going to have to trust the hoards of self-driving vehicles plying the roads. For instance, if you rock up to a crossing, can you be sure that a one-and-a-bit tonne, computer-controlled chunk of metal is definitely going to stop for you?
One solution to this problem of confidence touted by Jaguar Land Rover is eyes. Yep, the British company - working together with a team of cognitive psychologists - has attached eyes to a fleet of “intelligent pods” supplied by a company called Aurrigo, and the results are just a little creepy.
These are a little more complex than those comedy value headlight covers you buy on eBay to stick on your MX-5 for the lols. They actually ‘look’ for approaching pedestrians, attempting to make ‘eye contact’. This is intended to provide a visual signal “that it has identified them, and intends to take avoiding action.”
The pods are being tested on a mock-up street at a facility in Coventry, where engineers have been monitoring the behaviour of pedestrians as they interact with the vehicles. “Trust levels” are somehow recorded before and after ‘eye contact’ is made.
This all makes a certain degree sense, but we’re not sure why the eyes themselves have to look so damn sad…